IOM survey reveals growing humanitarian needs in Ukraine’s Eastern Conflict Area

29 November 2017

The increasingly high needs of conflict-affected individuals and returnees to the non-government controlled area (NGCA) is evident, as many communities remain cut off from markets, social services, as well as housing and employment opportunities. According to the latest round of the survey on the situation of internally displaced persons in Ukraine, the National Monitoring System (NMS), conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – the UN Migration Agency, with funding from the European Union, there has been an increase in the flow of returning internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the NGCA*.

Three and a half years into the conflict, 16 per cent of respondents surveyed this September, stated they returned to their original place of residence, a three per cent increase from the previous round conducted in June 2017. The vast majority of surveyed returnees (70%) cited their property in the NGCA and no need to pay for rent as the reason for their return. Over half of the IDPs returning are over the age of 60, and 61 per cent rely on a pension as their main source of income, which heightens their vulnerability as the pension is linked to their IDP status and residence in the government controlled area (GCA).

As highlighted in previous NMS reports, paying rent has been a constant barrier to IDP integration and a push for IDPs to return to their original place of residence. With the average monthly income rising to UAH 2,340 (USD 87) per IDP household member, it is still well below the subsistence level at UAH 3,035 (USD 113) calculated by the Ministry of Social Policy in July 2017. References to lack of employment opportunities in the GCA were also common factors in a household’s decision to return to the NGCA.

According to the financial self-assessment, 60 per cent of surveyed returnees reported that they have funds only enough for food; this is a significantly larger share than IDPs in the GCA, at 38 per cent. “With unstable access to deliver humanitarian aid to the NGCA, it remains of paramount importance to ensure that support is provided to the most vulnerable individuals throughout eastern Ukraine,” said Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss, Chief of Mission at IOM Ukraine. With 85 per cent of returnees intending to remain in the NGCA at least for the next three months, the needs will only continue to grow.

“IOM Ukraine has assisted nearly 200,000 IDPs and conflict-affected people since the start of the conflict. Being empowered by comprehensive assessments, such as the National Monitoring System Report, as well seeing the needs of our beneficiaries on the ground, IOM will continue to provide humanitarian aid and recovery support to the most vulnerable populations in eastern Ukraine, especially those near the contact line,” added Dr. Weiss.  

* IOM has been conducting surveys on the situation of IDPs in Ukraine on a regular basis since March 2016. In the latest round, conducted in September 2017, 1,025 IDPs were interviewed face-to-face and 4,204 IDPs registered by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine were interviewed by phone across the country.

For more information please contact IOM Ukraine Communications and Outreach Officer Varvara Zhluktenko (+38 044 568 50 15, vzhluktenko@iom.int)

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